Letter to the editor: Doug Curtis, Jr.

Rockland’s proposed minimum wage ordinance not equitable, probably unenforceable

Sun, 10/11/2020 - 8:15pm

The Rockland City Council by a 3-2 vote put Councilor's Nate Davis local minimum wage ordinance on the ballot and I would like to urge the citizens of Rockland to vote no on it.  Please let me explain why.

This is a great example of an idea that has not been vetted publicly by the citizens of Rockland  during a pandemic.  Whether you think it is a good idea or not, you have to examine the contents of the ordinance to fully understand what it is saying. 

First of all, in my opinion, minimum wage laws belong at a higher level of government than a city or town.  Beyond that, let's look at the flaws in this one. 

First, it is not equitable.  It only applies to businesses of 25 or more employees that do business within the City of Rockland. 

So how does that help employees with less than 25 employees? 

My company has over 40,000 employees, but only three in Rockland. They do not fall under this ordinance, but perhaps a local firm like Maritime Energy would. 

How fair is that? 

The City does not have the power to impose this ordinance on County, State or Federal workers.  

A great example of this are the junior enlisted Coast Guard men and women who work in our city that have a base pay of $1733.10 -$1942.50 per month which equates out to about $10-$11 per hour, but than again I don't know any military person that works a 40 hour week.  Of course like many companies they have benefits that take them well over the minimum wage.  Benefits are not even considered in this ordinance, nor is there any sort of training wage for students getting their first job and some work experience. 

Let's talk about enforcement.  The sole person responsible  for this ordinance is the City Manager.   If he or she finds a violation then in this case, Tom Luttrell has to go to the company and ask them to comply.   If they don't, the city manager has to take them to court to get the money.  

What does that cost in terms of time and what does that do the city's legal budget?  Is this what we want our city manager to focus on? 

I think not. 

For whatever reason Councilor's Davis, Ben Dorr and Valli Geiger thought this was a good idea, I will never know.  What I do know is this ordinance is not equitable, probably unenforceable and will come at some cost to the city taxpayers.

Doug Curtis, Jr., lives in Rockland